John 'Mikey' DeBriel, 14, an eighth-grader at Ketron Middle School, poses in the school library last Wednesday. DeBriel made perfect scores in every subject but math on the Explore test. On math, the straight-A student received the equivalent of 98 out of
KINGSPORT — Ketron Middle School eighth-grader Mikey DeBriel is among the top-performing academic students in the nation, based on his performance on the Explore test.
The 14-year-old DeBriel, a football and baseball player who hopes to play both sports for the Sullivan North High School Golden Raiders next year, made perfect scores in every subject but math on the test. The test is administered by the same company that does the 10th grade Plan and 11th grade ACT tests.
“I thought I did well,” DeBriel said. “I didn’t think I did that well.”
On math, the straight-A student received the equivalent of 98 out of 100.
DeBriel was the highest scoring among eight Ketron eighth-graders who were notified they met or exceeded all four college-readiness benchmarks when report cards came out earlier this month.
Meeting the benchmarks means they are on track to graduate high school with the knowledge, skills and education needed to do college-level work in all those subject areas.
As rewards, they got certificates and this morning were slated to have a free breakfast at Mama’s House Buffet, across and a little up the road from North, home of the “school within a school” Ketron Middle on John B. Dennis Highway.
Guidance counselor Erin Rall has counseled eighth-graders in the North zone for four years and said DeBriel should have a bright future. She said meeting the benchmark for science was particularly difficult for students this school year.
“I have never had a student score that high,” Rall said.
The son of Tina Alexander and John DeBriel, Mikey’s full name is John Michael DeBriel. The Bloomingdale resident, who has a brother and two sisters, said he does not study a lot but pays especially close attention in class.
“I don’t really study a lot. I just pay attention in class. I don’t really think I need to study a lot,” he said. “Ever since I was a small child, everything came easy.”
DeBriel said right now he plans a career as a sports physician, with a goal of attending the University of Tennessee or Louisiana State University.
“A lot of people don’t make it in the pros, and I do want to stay around sports,” he said. “That’s one way of making a living and staying around sports.”
His composite Explore score was 25, the highest available, while his English was 25, math 24 (the equivalent of 98 out of 100), reading 25, and science 25.
He and other eighth-graders at Ketron soon will begin planning their high school careers, with guidance counselors’ help, later this semester. Rall and DeBriel said the plan is for him to take all the honors, Advanced Placement and dual-enrollment courses he can work into his schedule.
Aside from sports and academics, DeBriel also is a member of Boy Scout Troop 155 in Bloomingdale, and he plans to become an Eagle Scout, the highest achievement level in Scouting. In addition, he enjoys skeet shooting on the weekends.
Principal Wendell Smith said DeBriel’s Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program (TCAP) scores also are at or near the top.
Smith said he is proud of DeBriel and the other seven who met or exceeded the Explore benchmarks, although he quickly added that he is proud of all Ketron students.